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Cholera outbreak leaves eight dead in Sudan

KHARTOUM: Eight people have died from cholera in Sudan including six in the war-torn state of Blue Nile, according to the World Health Organisation, amid a surge in the number of reported cases.

A total of 184 cases of cholera have been reported in the northeast African country over the past month, including 128 cases from Blue Nile and 56 in Sinnar state, WHO said in a statement late Wednesday citing health ministry records.

“Eight cholera-related deaths have been recorded by the federal ministry of health, including six in Blue Nile state and two in Sinnar state,” WHO said.

“We are working around the clock with the federal ministry of health, state authorities and partners to control the outbreak and prevent more deaths,” WHO Sudan head Naeema al-Gasseer said in the statement.

WHO said a shipment of 36 tonnes of cholera treatment medicines and supplies have arrived in Khartoum and are being prepared for distribution as part of the organisation’s response activities.

The shipment also contains medicine to treat 2,500 severely dehydrated patients, which is set to be distributed to cholera treatment centres in Blue Nile and Sinnar states, as well as other neighbouring high-risk states.

Cholera, a bacterial disease usually contracted from contaminated water supplies, can be fatal if not treated early.

Open defecation, lack of clean water outside Khartoum, and a dilapidated health sector further increases the threats from such diseases in a country of about 40 million people.

Dozens of people died from acute diarrhoea in Sudan in 2016 after thousands of cases were reported nationwide.

Blue Nile state, which has a large ethnic minority population, has been the focus of a rebellion by the Sudan People’s Liberation Army-North since 2011.

The army declared a ceasefire after the overthrow of veteran president Omar al-Bashir earlier this year.

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